How to Make a Great First Date Impression

First dates are important. You have roughly 12 minutes to make a good first date impression, so you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. Relationship coach Audrey Hope said it’s the details that can make or break a first date. “First dates really matter. If you don’t hit it out of the park your first time at bat, you will not get a chance to stay in the game. It’s always the small things people notice, and the little things people do that can answer the question of shall I see him or her again?” Hope told The Cheat Sheet.

The Cheat Sheet reached out to a few relationship experts to get their best advice on how to be remembered for all the right reasons. Read on for their tips.

Arrive on time

A man checking the time

Be punctual for your first date. |

Lateness is a no-no. Do your best to arrive on time. Relationship expert and matchmaker April Davis, Owner of Cupid’s Cronies, said it’s important to give yourself adequate time to prepare for your date. “Being punctual shows that you care about the date and are taking it seriously. It is critical that when you are preparing for the date, you allow yourself enough time to get ready,” said Davis.

Look great

Stylish man in suit

Dress to impress your date. |

Appearance matters, so make an effort to look nice. Arriving for your date looking unkempt sends the message that you don’t really care. Sarah Patt, matchmaker and dating expert of It’s Just Lunch Houston, said making sure you look nice should be at the top of your list. “Looking your best is an important part of a first date — remember, it’s a first impression. Looking attractive makes us feel confident and allows us to put our best foot forward. Remember, you don’t need to overdo it; you don’t want to spend too much effort on your looks only to feel like you wasted your time if the date doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped,” Patt told The Cheat Sheet.


Woman holds her hand near ear

Listen to what your date has to say. |

Don’t dominate the conversation. Really take time to listen to your date and give him or her your full attention. Hope said you should take your time to hear everything that is said, rather than being in a rush to respond. “Ask your date, ‘how are you?’ and then really listen to his or her answer. Don’t rush and get back to talking about yourself,” said Hope.

Be fully present

Man holding woman's hand

Learn how to live in that moment. |

A key part of listening is being present. Listen not only with your ears but your entire being. Try not to let your mind — or your eyes — wander, said Susie Lee, C.E.O. of dating app Siren. “Be fully present. It’s one of the most attractive things one can do, especially in an age of distraction. Don’t let your eyes wander to other people. Even if there isn’t chemistry (and likely both sides will feel it), be present,” said Lee.

Put your phone away

Couple texting on their mobile phones

There’s nothing more unattractive than constantly checking your phone. |

It’s rude to text friends and check email during a date. Refrain from the urge to obsessively check your social media accounts until you get home. Hope advises exercising a little bit of self-control. “Put your cell phone far, far away. Don’t put your attention on your phone and on your texts. Lock your phone in your bag and don’t take it out until you are home, safe and tucked in bed. Looking at a phone during a date is beyond rude and will never fly with a good guy or girl,” Hope warned.

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[Editor’s note: This story was originally published July 2016]